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Apple released iTunes for Windows this past week, and it is an interesting player, but not as full-featured and light as WinAmp or xmms. What does intrigue me about it is Apple's wildly popular iTunes Store, from which I have already purchased a couple of tracks. It took some digging through the maze of directories itunes uses for saving purchased files, to find the actual extensions of these files. One nice thing about the other audio player applications I have used is that they are very easy to determine whether a file you're playing is mp3, ogg, aac, wav, au, aiff, wma, or flac.

Using their own m4p file extension, iTunes, as far as I know, is the only application that can play their files. Coupled with a functioning install of Audacity, the files can be changed to oggs, the way I like them, but it's off-putting that iTunes seeks to make their player "the one," and not just an application that is used for getting the files. Like so many new applications, iTunes seems to aim at not being considered a computer program that deals with files. I suppose that this makes little difference to most computer users, but I still don't like the idea of it. It forces users to use a slow, space-wasting application, which vends files that are crippled from "fair use," which is apparently a phrase that raises record company executives' eyebrows with suspicion.

I like WinAmp, and I'll keep using it, because it's very simple, and(for now), it doesn't attempt to spam you with ads and hidden programs. Apple's iTunes music store is very nice, but after using it for a little while, I see that it isn't the kind of music player that I want. I'll stick to eMule, CD Universe, and the websites of my favorite bands, to get my music.

Speaking of good new music, get Dido's new album, along with Ben Folds' 2 new EPs. Excellent, all.

---edit--- iTunes doesn't inform you about the taxes you have to pay, to buy from them. Bad Apple! ---edit---

2:46 AM, Oct 20, 2003


DRMAdvocate responded:

M4p is the Apple DRM format. The limitations of songs downloaded from the music store are what I consider to be within the bounds of realistic fair use, especially when you realize you can burn and rip them as many times as you like. There is a limit on playlist burns (10), but you can just create a new playlist, if you like. If you think the record companies are just going to let their music go without a fight, you haven't been paying attention to their (shitty) actions for the last 5+ years. The other default format, AAC (or .m4a), is not proprietary at all, and can be played in XMMS or anything that supports the format. My roommate regularly rips albums with iTunes and plays them in XMMS on his FBSD box.

Also, I hardly think iTunes "spams you with ads". It has a link to its store, which you can click or not click. You're beginning to sounds suspiciously like one of those crazy open source zealots that can't accept the possibility that your free lunch (stolen software/music) might be taken away and try to couch your continued download of warez and music in the trappings of an ethical battle. I suppose you're making some small measure of difference, in that you're helping the music industry in general decline, but I'd much rather you just say "I'm cheap and I don't like to pay for things." (Fwiw, I'm cheap and I don't like to pay for things. I've conditioned myself to get free music and now I don't want to start paying for it again.) But if you *do* care about paying artists, Apple has a great method for buying and fairly using tracks, and I can't help but think you've fallen into step with yet another group of utopian idealogues who think they're 'making a difference' when they're really just cheap and persnickity.

7:13 AM, Oct 22, 2003

DRMAdvocate's_Editor took the time to say:

Oh, and re: hidden programs, the only one I really think is lame is the 3 MB iPod agent :)

The other one just facilitates burning.

7:15 AM, Oct 22, 2003

bahua wants you to know:

iTunes has not presented a great anything, except an avenue for the incumbent industry to stay in their position, despite technologies that would logically lead to a shift in their practices. "Purchasing" a copy of a rip of a song, from their store doesn't help the artists any more than going to Sam Goody or Musicland.

Yes, I like getting my music for free, but I pay for it too. I purchase CDs and go to concerts, but make a concerted effort not to patronize RIAA outlets such as Clearchannel and Ticketmaster. I like getting my software for free, but I pay for the kind that costs money(except winXP, for which I will be buying a license soon).

7:26 AM, Oct 22, 2003

DR._M commented:

But a cut of the music price does go directly to the artist, as well as whatever percentage the labels decide to share with them.

Consider this future: iTunes sells a shitton of music, become one of the main outlets of music distribution. Since every label on iTunes gets the same deal, percentage-wise, artists start migrating to labels that give them a better cut. Artists get paid, people get music that they can use and share, and everyone is happy.

Except zealots.

7:40 AM, Oct 22, 2003

bahua had this to say:

I don't see how this will change any record company's behavior. They still have the upper hand.

9:24 AM, Oct 22, 2003

DRM_Job thinks:

I'm not sure there is anything we can do to kill the RIAA except wait for their eventual demise.

3:46 PM, Oct 22, 2003

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